After having the opportunity to work with companies varying in size and age from the small start-ups to the large and established, my desire to share my knowledge and experiences has grown. A blog always seemed like a great venue for sharing, but I never knew where to start. Finally I said “just do it.” So here we go. Your comments and questions are deeply appreciated.
During my time in the corporate world, I often found myself being asked to serve on non-profit boards. It was eye opening how dysfunctional they were. My clinical training taught me the value of algorithmic thinking, and coming up with a specific plan and executing on it was where I really made an impact. I truly took it upon myself to be a leader and find a solution to the hard problems that were being ignored due to their complexity. This was my birth as an entrepreneur.
When I was asked to develop an advisory board for one of the non-profit boards, which later became my first Board Developer client, I said, “I don’t know much about your industry.” He said, “You know how to work with people, working with people is a key to all successful businesses. You also know more people than I will ever know. I want you to help us build a better board.”
That became the birth for what Board Developer is today. That one idea enabled me to use that magic that was developed for a non-profit to build Board Developer. We have done over 1,400 placements and built dozens and dozens of boards around the world.
Now, a little bit about Board Developer.
The Board Developer Mission and Purpose is to help organizations succeed and grow through business management development. Knowing where you want to go is essential. Knowing someone who can help take you there can make a huge difference.
The first thing we do is an assessment to discover where the organization has been, where the organization is, and where the organization needs to be. This is often much different than where they think it should be. We have implemented a very unique process to determine the true needs of the organization. When we delineate who would be the best leaders, we look at all aspects of the organization’s needs. The people we select will truly lead the organization and help them create their path to success.
It’s really important to have the right people in the right seat on the right bus at the right time, all the time.
And that’s another differentiator of Board Developer. We only hire a board member for one year at time, and only after we’ve done a thorough due diligence to assess whether the organization would be a good fit for his or her leadership style. At the end of the year we do an assessment to determine what value the individual brought to the board and to the organization. We determine whether the organization is taking their advice or if it’s falling on deaf ears. If it is, we dig deeper to find out why.
Reflection on oneself and each board member is important to maintain a strong board. The root-cause analysis of issues is critical. If the root cause isn’t illuminated it is destined to be repeated. Root cause—taking responsibility, is the core of Emotional Intelligence. In my opinion, Emotional Intelligence is a critical factor that is seldom explored and fostered in organizations. Emotional Intelligence is the capacity of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and identify them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. Emotional Intelligence requires each person to be Open, Honest and Direct.
Trust your intuition.
The way I lead is by having a personal connection with an organization. My goal is to create a genuine relationship and make a difference in an organization as if the organization is a human being. This may sound a little off, but it starts to make sense as you see the organization evolve and “grow up”. One of the keys to survival for an organization is a strong pulse. Maintaining a strong pulse requires a lot of maintenance, and a lot of work. As a leader, it is very important to know the pulse of your organization and its board. The harder you work on it, the healthier the organization will be. Being intimately involved with organizations and taking them to the next stage in their lives is absolutely what makes me happy as a leader and entrepreneur.
My personal life is what drives my leadership style. In my personal life, people are the most important. I love people. I love relationships. I love having a genuine relationship and having the relationship given back to me as genuine and mutually beneficial. I think of myself as genuine, real and gregarious.
Making a difference to the core is one achievement I see as my legacy. When an organization wants to grow or be positioned in order to be acquired, it is my mission to make that goal happen. The magic is to utilize the board to hone in on that specific goal. The process becomes a joint venture between the organization and the board members. It shows what everyone’s talents, skills and expertise can do with a defined goal and clear direction from the board specifically built for accomplishing that goal. It is an exhilarating experience. With a passion for the power of serial entrepreneurship and a belief in the value of impeccable customer service, I have an unwavering commitment that has defined my career and Board Developer’s success and the success of our client organizations.
I have the best job in the world because it emulates my personal and professional strengths and passions. I consider the Board Developer clients my personal friends. My joy in my personal and professional life is having the courage to live life true to myself and having strong personal and professional relationships. I work hard and play hard and keep a good balance in both. No regrets.